Manchester Collective: Neon album review — dreamy and alluring


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In the 1960s, composers such as La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Steve Reich rejected the postwar consensus of complexity in music. Their exploration of minimalism set a trend, at least in the US, but how many at the time could have predicted that it would still be influential in the 21st century?

This album from the adventurous Manchester Collective, which is being released on CD and vinyl, shows where the future may lead. While the familiar rhythmic pulse continues to tick on, the younger generation of composers are happy to be more fluid and varied in the music they derive from it.

Two newly commissioned works are at the heart of the programme. Hannah Peel’s Neon reflects on neon light waves shining through the city at night and ponders “the melancholy and eventual vanishing of this beautiful art form”. Seductive percussion is part of the mix, and the music conjures a hypnotic mood as it fades into the distance.

Album cover of ‘Neon’ by Manchester Collective

Even more dreamy and alluring is Lyra Pramuk’s Quanta, a reflection on time and memory introduced by a gentle tick-tock. Barely minimalists at all, as the music flutters and shimmers into being, “the musicians [interact] as quantum particles do, ‘appearing’ only as they rub against each other, each following a different flow and season.”

The album is completed by Julius Eastman’s Joy Boy and Reich’s Double Sextet, where rhythm is all. Manchester Collective has chosen the works well. There is some beguiling new music here that should find friends.


Neon’ is released by Bedroom Community

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